Mommy, Are We Black?
One frigid winter morning in Northern New York, my three-year-old asked,
“Mommy, are we black?” I don’t know how often this comes up in the average American household, but I’m guessing it’s not often. Certainly it wasn’t covered in the FAQs of my parenting books.
I first found a black plastic spatula in the kitchen, and put it next to my hand, and then hers. “Are we this color?” I asked. The answer was no.
I then took us both outside, into the 2+ feet of new snow, and we rested both of our hands lightly on top. “Are we this color?” I asked. Again, the answer was no.
The world cannot be defined in such stark terms, and people who insist on doing so - no matter who they are - are either simplistically child-like, or have an agenda to promote.
My answer to her – and I believe this absolutely – is that we are all varying shades of beige. Did I complicate my child's life with this answer? Yes, I did - and we continue to discuss the issue still.
For many people, my daughter's question would have been a "no-brainer"; if you see the world in black and white, it's not a difficult concept. I, too, can see the world this way - but when I put those particular glasses on, my lenses show a social construct rather than a biologically determined outcome.
Frankly, black and white belongs in old photographs or artistic graphic design. I much prefer the vibrant hues of today. When you come right down to the bottom line, we are just people.